Last week my sister and I went on vacation, so this week lucky readers will learn from all the observations and lessons that only travel can bring! 

Our trip revolved around Frankfort, KY. I’ll bet not many people can say that, but it meant state capital #50 for my sister so it was an important trek. We have been to many off-the-beaten path cities on this capital quest, and once again we were pleasantly surprised — maybe not by Frankfort itself, but certainly by the capitol building plus Lexington and Cincinnati that were part of the trip.

We dubbed Cincinnati the “city of intentionality.” Or maybe it should be the city of excellent downtown planning. The Reds stadium in alignment with the Bengals stadium to share infrastructure. Shared development between Cincinnati and Newport, KY just across the pedestrian bridge/river to create an even larger and more active entertainment district. A carousel that has specially-carved animals that children drew and all have some Cincinnati tie (eg: Bengals, grasshoppers, herons seen along the river, etc.)

Their riverfront park features public porch swings to take in the view; picnic tables on rollers so they can be configured in different seating arrangements but remain on-site; and even bike channels to make transporting bicycles down stairs easier.

We happened to be there on Labor Day — along with 500,000 of our closest friends — to see the most spectacular fireworks display I have ever seen: one that capitalized on the full length of the two proximate bridges as well as a barge to shoot pyrotechnics off from three locations simultaneously. 

So much is usually the same from city to city. You encounter the same franchises, stores, highways and restaurants. Even one fireworks show or park looks very similar to others you have seen. But not here. 

How can you take a lesson from Cincinnati and add the little touches that make your location distinctive? How can you listen to users to learn (and then deliver) what they really want, but may not have seen elsewhere? Can you incorporate local elements into your designs and decor?

Cincinnati bills itself as the Queen City. Learn from the Queen of Intentionality on how to make your place your own.

beth triplett

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